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The Chaska Ravine Trail is a hidden gem for cyclists and pedestrians looking to travel off the beaten path within the suburban community, offering a quiet, natural pathway right in the midst of neighborhoods and highways. The route is largely unsigned and connects with many offshoot trails from the city of Chaska's excellent network of community trails, with the Chaska Ravine Trail following the natural corridor formed by a series of lakes to the city's north, and connecting with the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail on the southern end.
The northern half of the trail has a much more rustic feel; the trails around Big Woods Lake and McKnight Lake are unpaved and tucked into the lakeshore woods, providing a nice escape for visitors staying at the nearby hotels as well as local residents looking to disappear into nature. The trail is disconnected from the southern half due to the railroad tracks south of McKnight Lake - a gap that the city hopes to one day fill in. For now, trail users can follow the unpaved path that leads west from McKnight Road down to Bavaria Road for a lengthy detour, or simply use the northern half as a loop trail and save the rest for another outing.
The southern half of the trail picks up at Lake Jonathan just south of the railroad tracks, where sprawling city parks offer plenty of picnic and playground space next to a local elementary school. This part of the trail is a smoothly paved asphalt, which continues south along the lakeshore and along the edge of Lake Grace, following a lovely tree-lined path through another city park at the southern end of the lake. A series of underpasses allow trail users to safely cross Hundertmark Road and Highway 212, with additional trail connections flowing in from the east and west. South of the highway, the trail begins to wind east and south, following the route of a small creek as it works its way to the LRT Trail, one of the premier trails in the regional trail network.
Parking is available at the northern end of the trail at a small lot for the Spring Peeper Meadow, an arboretum/meadowland with nature trails of its own, located at 105 W 82nd Street in Chaska. Parking is also available at McKnight Park, north of Jonathan Elementary School on Pleasant Lane, east of McKnight Road.
A trailhead with parking is also located at the trail's junction with the LRT Trail, on Old Audubon Road just north of Engler Boulevard.
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